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Detailed record for Harley 5233

Title Nova Statuta , for the reign of Edward III (r. 1327-1377)(ff. 11-140v), Richard II (r. 1377-1399)(ff. 141-218), Henry IV (r. 1399-1413)(ff. 219-265v), Henry V (r. 1413-1422) (ff. 265v-289v), to 15 Henry VI (r. 1422-1461, 1470-1471)(ff. 289v-338v)
Origin England
Date c. 1436
Language French and Latin
Script Gothic cursive
Decoration 5 historiated initials in colours and gold combined with a full foliate bar border including acanthus leaves and foliate feathering, of English kings (ff. 11, 141, 219, 265v, and 289v). Initials in blue with red pen-flourishing. Paraphs in red or blue. Ascenders decorated with pen-flourishing in brown ink with fish and birds (f. 219).
Dimensions in mm 225 x 160 (140 x 95)
Official foliation ff. 1* + 340 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning + 19 unfoliated blank leaves after f. 10 + 30 blank parchment leaves after f. 339
Collation Mainly in quires of 8.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Post-1600. Brown mottled calf with gold fillets.
Provenance Added text in Latin, 15th century (f. 339).
Added legal texts in English, including one related to the 18th-39th year in Henry VI's reign and the 1st year of Edward IV (1439-1461), written in Gothic cursive, in various hands, late 15th-early 16th century (ff. 1v-10v).
Inscribed 'Iste liber constat ?Ric[ard]e Clerke' (ff. 1*v, 340) and 'Clerke' (f. [2*]).
Robert Burscough (b. 1650/51, d. 1709), prebendary of Exeter in 1701, archdeacon of Barnstaple in 1703, rector of Cheriton, bishop in 1705; sold by his widow on 17 May 1715 to Robert Harley, along with other manuscripts (see Wright 1972; Diary 1966).
The Harley Collection, formed by Robert Harley (b. 1661, d. 1724), 1st earl of Oxford and Mortimer, politician, and Edward Harley (b. 1689, d. 1741), 2nd earl of Oxford and Mortimer, book collector and patron of the arts, inscribed as usual by their librarian, Humfrey Wanley ‘17 Maij 1715’ (f. 1).
Edward Harley bequeathed the library to his widow, Henrietta Cavendish, née Holles (b. 1694, d. 1755) during her lifetime and thereafter to their daughter, Margaret Cavendish Bentinck (b. 1715, d. 1785), duchess of Portland; the manuscripts were sold by the Countess and the Duchess in 1753 to the nation for £10,000 (a fraction of their contemporary value) under the Act of Parliament that also established the British Museum; the Harley manuscripts form one of the foundation collections of the British Library.
Notes ff. 1* and 340 are parchment former pastedowns.
f. 1 is blank.
Leaf signatures. Quire marks in Roman numerals (on the verso of the last leaf of the quire).
All historiated initials were painted by the same artist except that of Henry IV (f. 219). It seems to have been written and decorated in one campaign, probably around 1436, as the rest of the statutes for Henry VI's reign are missing.
ff. 339-340v were originally blank, probably destined to receive the statutes for the rest of Henry VI's reign.
Select bibliography A Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: Eyre and Strahan, 1808-12), III (1808), no. 5233.

The Diary of Humfrey Wanley 1715-1726, ed. by Cyril Ernest Wright and Ruth C. Wright, 2 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1966), I: 1715-1723, p. 11 n. 6.

Cyril Ernest Wright, Fontes Harleiani: A Study of the Sources of the Harleian Collection of Manuscripts in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1972), pp. 87-88.


Images
* * *
 
King Edward III

f. 11
King Edward III
Richard II

f. 141
Richard II
Henry IV

f. 219
Henry IV
 
Text page

f. 256v
Text page
Henry VI

f. 289v
Henry VI

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